If you are a professional in Contract & Commercial Management, committed to achieving the best possible outcomes from negotiations with all your trading relationships, then ‘Commitment Matters’ is the perfect source of regular articles and posts dedicated to helping you achieve that goal.
Jun 27, 2019 10:45:03 PM
Feb 19, 2018 5:15:00 AM
Some years ago, I was asked to speak at a meeting of the supplier management staff at a major bank.
Aug 6, 2017 2:16:00 PM
In the world of sales, the value of relationships is well understood. A key business goal is to generate repeat customers, to establish a sense of trust and loyalty. This is because, in general, the cost of servicing a repeat customer is lower than the cost of finding and closing new business. Sometimes, it is also true that loyal customers are willing to pay higher prices – or, in the case of less scrupulous suppliers, can be taken advantage of because they are less likely to price shop.
Apr 19, 2017 5:39:33 AM
“Supply chain management is a relationship business,” says Adrian Gonzalez on Talking Logistics. His interview with Brent Nagy, VP of Enterprise Customer Strategy at C.H.Robinson makes many good points – but with a few gaping holes.
Jul 14, 2016 4:54:54 AM
Tania Seary of Procurious is the latest in a long line to suggest Procurement should be 'at the top table'. Her article, Headed for the C-Suite, wisely suggests that a pre-requisite is to demonstrate relevance to business objectives and to do this through ' a new focus on key performance indicators'.
Apr 28, 2016 4:40:50 AM
The author, Stephen Ashcroft, is a procurement leader with an inquisitive and open mind. In his blog, he compares and contrasts findings from a recent survey (which he finds depressing) with the inspirational presentations he encountered at a recent conference.
He found those presentations inspirational because it involved leaders with a vision for the future, of how to ensure that supply and supplier management delivers real value.
He found the survey depressing because it paints a very different picture, of practitioners struggling to do more than negotiate transactional arrangements with (often) the wrong suppliers and then failing to manage their performance. That's exactly what the rest of the business sees - a group that is frequently focused on the wrong thing, or on just a minor element of the overall process. Indeed, recent data from one CEO suggested that today's procurement practices focus on only 20% of the available value.
The optimist in Steve then makes the leap to envisage a future where all those practitioners have seen the light and suddenly they are 'breaking down barriers' and leading an 'integrated approach' across the business. All it needs is for inspired leaders to 'assemble talented Procurement people' and everything will change ...
But situation would not he challenge, it seems to me, is finding those talented people. If Procurement had many of them, surely the current exist? The problem I find is that most people do not have the knowledge or the skills or the tools that are needed to change results - and the majority would prefer to be left alone to do what they are doing. They convince themselves that a) the skills they have really are the right ones anyway and b) if they hold out long enough, these 'visionaries' will go away and take their change agenda elsewhere.
On what basis do I say this? Through a combination of research and on the ground observations. And of course the issues I highlight are not unique to procurement. Our surveys show that around 80% of practitioners believe they have or are acquiring the skills they personally need for the future; and a similar percentage believe their colleagues do not have those skills or the enthusiasm to acquire them.
And if further evidence is needed, it is worth noting that the names Steve cites - those leaders who inspired him - do not actually have background in Procurement. Like many other functions today, the leadership is being recruited from outside. (hence the similar debate for legal groups "Should the General Counsel of the future be a lawyer?").
So Steve, I agree that today the starting point is people. But the challenge is finding the right people for the work of the future - and maybe, just maybe, they are not today's incumbent community.
Mar 8, 2016 8:38:00 AM
In many respects, these seem to be challenging times. I observe many commercial, contracts and procurement groups struggling to build momentum and indeed suffering cuts, because they are not adjusting to business needs. The question is whether the function can adapt and take on a wider role, or whether that wider role will be performed elsewhere. The need is for individuals to focus on the areas of the future, not those of the past, and to show a grasp of the emerging agenda driven by new technologies and digitization.
Just as the threat lies in technology, so do the opportunities. We must understand and use the systems that will define and support leading-edge supply chains. These enable a growing reliance on external sources of supply, with corporate size increasingly measured on revenue, not numbers of employees. Coordinating and integrating across these multiple, interdependent relationships will be key to survival. Another growth area will be SRM, due to the need for a more blended approach to supply management and innovation.
This means, for the right people, growth industries will be those where either there is significant disaggregation (and therefore dependence on commercial integration) and those where there is extensive regulatory / reputational oversight (and therefore dependence on integrity). As a result, I think there will be major opportunities in industries like pharma, financial services, insurance and perhaps telecoms, where better structured and well managed relationships will be critical. To a degree, that will also flow into IT and IT services, especially for companies that rely heavily on aggregation of suppliers and delivery of outcomes.
Capital goods and infrastructure industries should also need more commercial resource, but probably with a focus on building more effective supplier /project selection, negotiation and delivery management. As margins continue to operate under pressure, the theoretical savings generated by traditional procurement and 'risk management' provided by traditional contract management need to be turned into the ability to oversee contracts that deliver value, efficiency and improved margin.
Nov 24, 2015 4:51:30 PM
It’s not uncommon for business functions to lay claim to ownership or proficiency in another domain – but that doesn’t make it right.
In the case of contract management, the procurement, legal and project management functions are among those who assert it is ‘theirs’, that it is in some way a sub-set of what they do. That is, they make that claim until things go wrong – at which point it conveniently becomes someone else’s fault.
Oct 27, 2015 2:32:41 PM
All too often, the phrase ‘strategic relationship’ seems to mean ‘Do as I tell you’. As with words like ‘collaboration’ and ‘partner’, when coming out of the mouth of a powerful customer, it is simply an attempt to make unilateral demands for concessions sound more reasonable.
Oct 15, 2015 1:33:47 PM
Several months ago, I was talking with a friend who is CEO of a mid-size software company – let’s call it Company X. She had been working with the marketing group at a large corporation and they were excited by the functionality that her product offered. The IT organization were also supportive because of its ease of integration and use. Both could see significant financial benefits when compared to competitive offerings.